Wow! This has made all the difference
Wow! This has made all the difference
- September 4, 2014
- Posted by: LSEM
If there is one thing that God has equipped all our of teachers with, it is passion. If you ever meet Patti Stone, you’ll know that she is no different!
Wow! I was recently asked to write a “Wow Story” for LSEM. It took me by surprise. It is always so much fun to read about the successes of our wonderful LSEM colleagues and now I have a chance to share a little bit about what we’ve been doing here in North Texas and…gosh, what can I write? As I said, “Wow!”
It occurred to me that most of these stories focus on the teacher helping the student become more productive in their area of learning difficulty. I’m going to take a different approach. You see, I really believe that students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and community members working together to make learning a lifetime opportunity have all written my “Wow Story” — and that is what I want to share with you.
Shortly after retiring in the spring of 2008 after 32 years teaching in Texas public schools, I was approached by a Crown of Life Lutheran School (Colleyville, TX) teacher and parent about an LSEM education consultant position at the PreK-8 school. Tim Walz, our principal at the time, talked with me and arranged an interview with Texas’ LSEM Coordinator, Sharon Messmann. I think Sharon will agree with me when I say we hit it off instantly. Our love of teaching special needs children, especially those with reading differences, was the deal-maker.
Sharon has been a great teacher, leader, consultant, and friend. We have studied
and learned new and wonderful programs together, including Lexia, which is a pretty remarkable computer program designed to help our struggling readers. “Wow”, now that was quite a labor of love that we got to share! What made it so worthwhile was that we continue to see our kids grow and learn from that experience that we shared together.
The rest of the staff at the LSEM headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan has helped me enormously during my time here. They have worked endlessly to provide in-service opportunities, materials, and words of encouragement to help my special needs students, teachers, and parents. Their efforts are bolstered by the diligence and unselfish giving of time, talent, and treasure on the part of the Board of Trustees, donors, and other volunteers to the LSEM program.
Once again, I have to say “Wow!”
All my career I have been given the title and referred to as “teacher.” But I also have another title — “learner.” Teachers never stop learning. My students, parents, teachers, administrators, church and community enlighten me on a daily basis. My experience with LSEM has given me the opportunity to work with and establish wonderful relationships with many professional staff members at Grapevine- Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD). Together, we have been able to expand the special services programs through Project Child Find. As education laws change frequently, I have learned to monitor and adjust in order to acquire services for our students at Crown of Life. GCISD has provided speech language pathologists, diagnosticians, occupational therapists, and emotional/behavior counselors for our special needs students and more.
“Wow!” Thank you, Gracious and Merciful Father, for these wonderful community members and the work they do in our school and in our community.
I think anyone who has ever taught children will agree that the greatest learning experiences come from our students. Each day we get to see our children grow and learn — from those with the brightest minds to those whose abilities are challenged in some way. We ourselves are challenged to learn and understand how they learn and understand. We are constantly assessing whether programs and educational materials are appropriate for a given student. Along the way our students are teaching us about themselves, their likes and dislikes, talents, and families. Over the past six years at Crown of Life, I have learned more than I ever thought possible. And again I say, “Wow”!
At an early age I realized I was very fond of working with children. I knew I wanted to be a teacher. In fact, one of my greatest influences was a very dear music teacher and choir director. He had us perform from a poem written by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time, but I understand now how that poem speaks to us, not in the beginning of our careers, but at the end. In the poem, we get the sense that the traveler at the fork in the road sees the decision he must make at that moment to be a defining moment in his life. In reality, it is many years later that he comes to realize the importance of the decision at that fork so many years ago.
As teachers we won’t always know that the road traveled will be the right road until many years later. It is when that child who struggled so much in school, now grown with children or grandchildren of their own, sees you somewhere and comes up to you just to say “thanks.” And all you can say is, “Wow”!
That, my friend, has made all the difference.